Thursday, February 27, 2014

We Are Not Just An Address.

I wish I could say we had the cool waters blissfully flowing in our house again. But we don't.

In an interesting plot twist, we did find out that the frozen line isn't actually ours at all. It in fact belongs to The City. We can't touch it because it is their responsibility.

Furthermore, in a sinister plot development, when told that they had a frozen water line that was negatively affecting households on our street, the response was "They will have to let it thaw".

Does that sound right to you? Because it doesn't sound right to me. In my way of thinking, when you know that a service you are charged with doling out and are responsible for caring for is broken, you need to apply some method to fix it. Waiting for The Thaw is simply not acceptable in my mind's eye. And one only has to glance at a long range forecast for our area to see how truly disheartening that pronouncement really was. (It appears Spring is going to be very late to the party this year).

Without intervention, we are looking at weeks or months before the frost line ebbs enough to loosen its grasp on whatever do-dad is frozen under the cement. Weeks and weeks of this constant interruption; in your face, always reminding you. "I'm still here."

It's not just the "inconvenience" factor that has my feathers ruffled here. Running water in the house is, after all, a First World problem. But there is a bit of a safety issue as well. We have a garden hose supplying our water. A garden hose with no federal regulations behind its manufacturing. Lead? Chemicals? Microbes? All of the above? That's our water.

Until "It Thaws."

I don't even want to go into the amount of water gushing down our drain right now. In order to keep our "hose-lifeline" from freezing (which it's already done twice now in the 9 days we've been relying on it), we have to keep a strong stream of water flowing. 25-30 gallons of water per hour. Do the math on that and it's staggering. Thousands of gallons of water absolutely wasted. Down the drain.

Until "It Thaws."

My husband trekked down to City Hall today with one purpose in mind: to put a face to a situation. We are not an address. We are a family. This is very real to us and has consequences for our family. He was able to speak to the manager of city utilities, and although we don't know yet what (if any) impact his conversation will have on the situation, at least City Hall knows we exist. Whether they do anything about our problem, or sweep it under the rug (out of sight out of mind), we are here. And we deserve a whole lot better than being a forgotten casualty of an extreme winter freeze.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One Day This Will Be Funny

And still we continue with no water at our house.

Memories of a tropical vacation are tanned into our skin; they clutter up the table as souvenirs not yet relocated to their new cold-weather housing; they are scattered on the floor of our van, millions of grains of a far away coastline transplanted to Ohio.

The strange reality of frozen pipes and a waterless existence sits at pointy odds with the memories of that Utopian place we were in not that very long ago.

In my last entry I spoke of how we were marching on, faces high, spirits soaring, thanks to the hose connecting us to our neighbor's house and supplying an adequate supply of water for everyday life. There was boiling, but at least there was water. Running water.

Sadly, a new and cruel trick has taken even that little comfort away. The frosty fingers of our house have gotten ahold of not only the hose (which is easily thawed out of her icy clasp), but also all the valves between the two spigots. Our Ice Queen, spreading her Plague to others. Watch out, it's catching. No antibiotic for this one, kids. Sorry.

So now we sit with no water. At all. Think about that for a moment and you'll understand the frustration. No water to cook or clean. No water for washing. A dry tap for showers and tooth brushing. And when "Nature Calls" (and she surely does; especially when she knows you have recently immigrated back to the 18th century), there becomes quite an issue.

Still sitting. Still waiting. (Just not quite so patiently.)

I am told that one day this whole thing will be very funny. That we will get a hearty chuckle out of it as we recall with laughter "That time when we were out of state and our pipes froze, so we had to get water through a hose from the neighbor's, only the hose froze followed quickly by the valves. And then we went 2 full days without a single drop of that molecular miracle in our house".

What a hoot! A real riot!

Yes, one day this will all be funny. It surely has the makings for a doozy of a tale. But not yet. Not nearly yet.

I'm pretty sure all laughter must wait until there are flushing toilets in my house.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Just Wait

Our house has no water.
Well, that's not entirely true. We have water - courtesy of the hose from our neighbor's house set up by the water department. An umbilical cord of sustenance, linking us across the bridge of a cement driveway. (Aren't metaphors fun?)

The beginning of this sordid tale of Water Woe dates back to over a week ago. We were on vacation. In Florida. (Where there was no snow or sub-zero temperatures, incidentally). In some strange mismatch of realities, I got a call letting me know that our little red house in Ohio suddenly had no water. Poof. Just like that.

Let me tell you, nothing is quite so much fun as being 1,200 miles from home (in a sunny utopia) and finding out that your house sits frigid; the captive of a malicious Ice Queen. Frozen.

The flurry of frantic calls to various "rescuers" that ensued did little to perk our spirits, nor did it entice us to hasten our return back to this Arctic plain of frozen frustration. But here I now sit, in a house still waiting for The Great Thaw, apparently.

Not to sound ungrateful, but can I just put it on record that I'm tired of this? Never before did I realize how utterly (and Everyday-Life-Depends-On-It) important a tap streaming with clean water really is. Never before have I so hated a single piece of ice, such as the one lodged somewhere in our service line and wreaking sheer havoc and upheaval on our daily lives.

It's been a week in this new reality of ours. Everyday has been brought to us by the word "Boil"; as in, "Boil water before drinking", "Boil water before washing dishes", "Boil water before rinsing the produce", and "Boil water used for brushing your teeth." Boil. Boil. Boil. My stock pots have never worked so hard in all their stainless steel lives.

Probably I could have more of an adventurous spirit about this if it were the absolute only predicament in which we found ourselves. However, we are also dealing with the unnerving issue of a dishwasher that had been incorrectly installed (and year ago), and consequently broken (a year ago); and which has been leaking every single cycle ever since. For a year. It seeped under the kitchen floor, hiding the damage being done, until finally it started buckling the floor completely. Ruining it. The repairman who diagnosed the whole thing told us not to touch the dishwasher. Or use it. At all. It's been disloyal.

Naturally the installation company is insured to cover the damages and replacement costs.
And naturally we can't seem to get in contact with them.

Perhaps it could also be said that everyday is brought to us by the word "Wait". As in, "Wait for the frost line to lessen", "Wait for the grip of winter to release its hold on us", "Wait for the stupid (possibly finger-nail width) piece of ice to finally melt", "Wait for the dishwasher/kitchen floor issue to be resolved". Just, wait.

Most of the time I want to blow a gasket in frustration of all this stupid waiting. But maybe there is a lesson for me to learn as well. There is a lot of good to be had from Just Waiting, after all. I mean, look at the new found appreciation I'll have for modern conveniences like, oh say, clean running water? Hot water on demand? A spiffy machine that cleans your dishes while you go tra-la-ing about? A kitchen floor that doesn't make you trip as you make your way over its up heaved surface? Shiny stock pots, all hung up on pegs and not gurgling away non stop on the stove?

A whole new appreciation for things erstwhile very much taken for granted and UN-appreciated.

Just wait.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Our Walmart Has No Hand Baskets.

     Our local Walmart no longer has shopping baskets. It's been almost one full year since the ever dwindling pile of them that greeted me just inside the door has disappeared; apparently tapped out completely.
   Normally I prefer to go with the flow on little issues, but this one really bothers me. I've asked 4 separate people and have been given four completely different answers in regards to their disappearance and subsequent failure to reappear. They are "on order" was one response. (That is some really show shipping). The powers that be got tired of people walking out with them said yet another informative. (Because they do make the most stunning fashion accessory. I often find myself wondering which shopping basket best coordinates with my outfit. But Walmart-Blue just doesn't ever make the play list.) They were all broken was another possibility. (Nope. Broken would be the wobbly-wheeled cart I seem to get every single time I shop there. Or the other one I get that only turns left. And then there's the one on which 3 of 4 wheels don't turn. Or perhaps the one that leans strangely to the right like it has a flat tire.) The final suggestion from a helpful staff member was the "Truth" that upper management doesn't believe the staff when they tell them the baskets are gone. (Really? Because it is quite shocking. I'd probably be in denial too.)
    All I know is that it's really starting to annoy me. Enough to blog about it, actually. (Insert winking smiley face here, if you will.) Is it too much to ask for hand held shopping baskets? Where are the shopping baskets? Is it a conspiracy? Have some decency Walmart; give us back the stupid baskets. Really. Or whatever.
   And if the grand plan is to make me use a cart, ergo slyly forcing me to fill it up with cheese curls and soy sauce (just to fill up all the extra space), then the joke's on you Walmart. That's right. Because I throw all my groceries (cheese curls and all) in my reusable Target bags. So there.